Backstreet Boys
Photo: Joel Telling

Backstreet Boys’ AJ McClean Celebrates LGBTQ With ‘Love Song Love’: Listen + Watch

Throughout his 28 years with the Backstreet Boys and his solo career, AJ McLean has stretched the limits between fashion and gender and in the video for his latest solo track, “Love Song Love,” the 43-year-old singer dresses in drag and dances around a dollhouse to honor the transgender culture.

Directed by René Elizondo and McLean, AJ stars alongside transgender models Nahla Wyld and Carmen Carrera in a life-size Hollywood dollhouse dripping in pink. The song, which debuted in Variety, is part of the longtime LGBTQ ally’s attempts to raise visibility and foster dialogue about the battle for equality and the musician’s endorsement comes after a surge of anti-transgender bills being introduced in the United States.

“Now, more than ever, the rights and very existence of my trans and non-binary fans are being attacked in politics and on the streets,” he adds. “What is going on is inexcusable. I’m an ally, and this album cries “love no matter what!” to me. It’s about treating one another with love and respect.” Despite the strides achieved in inclusion, McLean reports that the political environment acts as a reminder about how much work still remains. “For years, the transgender community has faced opposition,” he says. “Things are starting to change, and with the new administration comes more open-mindedness, which is exactly how it should’ve always been because it doesn’t matter if you were born a boy but have always identified as a girl. However, there is already a long way to go.”

McLean, who has encountered ridicule in the past for painting his nails and being pictured in drag, says that bigotry “can be so detrimental,” noting, “Fortunately, this generation is using their platforms to speak out about negativity, judgment, racism, and hostile acts toward minorities and the trans community.” It gives me optimism for the generation of my children.”

Mitch Allan (whose previous credits include Backstreet Boys, Demi Lovato, Kelly Clarkson, Jesse Saint John, and John Paulson) wrote “Love Song Love,” which was recorded by Allan and mixed/mastered by Mitch Kenny. AJ expects to release two EPs this year and the singer has been doing weekly social media takeovers, giving representatives of the transgender and non-binary groups control of his Instagram account.

In the hopes of defying gender stereotypes, McLean has co-founded Ava Dean Beauty, a nail polish brand with his friend Josh Naranjo as well as maintaining his “Pretty Messed Up” podcast and revealing that the Backstreet Boys will begin producing their first Christmas album in May with producer Tommy Brown (of Ariana Grande fame). “We want to make a timeless album like Mariah Carey’s song, and we’ve talked about working on new music beyond that,” McLean says, noting that the group’s DNA World Tour dates are also up in the air due to the pandemic. “Tommy is a freakin’ genius, so hopefully we’ll develop a great relationship and collaborate on more music together.”

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Author: Luke Traina

Photo: Joel Telling